When children don’t receive proper food at crucial stages in their development, they miss out on the nutrients they need to grow—both physically and mentally. Persistent drought and a changing climate in Haiti continue to rob families of food and make them more susceptible to diseases. Though their voices are small, their needs are great: children like Seraphin Fadnelson are some of the most affected by this crisis.

Seraphin was light in the arms of her mother when they entered Hôpital St. Marc. At only fifteen pounds, the two-year-old was severely underweight and in need of immediate treatment for malnutrition and its complications.

Seraphin Fadnelson, pictured before and after receiving life-saving malnutrition treatment through a PWS&D-supported project. Photo: Partners in Health

Mouthful after mouthful of therapeutic food and milk, as well as antibiotics and vitamins, allowed Seraphin to regain her strength. After five months of outpatient care, Seraphin doubled her weight and was able to exit the malnutrition treatment program a healthy child.

Undernourishment affects half of Haiti’s population—almost a quarter of children experience stunting. When malnourishment occurs during pregnancy and the first two years of life it can create physical and mental challenges that affect children into their adult years.

The St. Marc community in Haiti is home to a targeted malnutrition program supported by PWS&D and partners at Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB). Through this program, children visiting the hospital for any reason are screened for malnutrition and, if needed, immediately enrolled in months of therapeutic nutritional support. Additionally, mothers receive training in best practices for breastfeeding to curb malnutrition-related diseases in youngsters like Seraphin, some two-thirds of whom are anemic.

Taking life-saving support on the road, mobile malnutrition clinics more than double the reach of the project. In 2018, 2,278 children who were acutely malnourished accessed nutritional support and 3,057 received vital medication.

*PWS&D is a member of Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a coalition of 15 church-based agencies working together with the common goal of eliminating global hunger. This project was undertaken with matching support from the Government of Canada.